I slogged up Ilchester Rd. again today.  It went a little more smoothly than last time.  Hill-climbing rule no. 1:  If you know you’re going to need the granny gear, shift into it while still seated, before it gets too hard to pedal.  If you wait ’till you’re standing up, your derailleur will pick that moment to dump the chain, and you’ll either fall off the bike, or nearly fall off the bike, looking really stupid in either case.

Ilchester Rd. is one of 3 hills in my area (along with Gun Rd. and College Ave.) that are so steep, that it feels like the front wheel is going to pop off the ground if I don’t lean forward to weight it.   It would probably help if I wasn’t riding with loaded panniers.  I’m trying to do Ilchester around once a week now.  I go up Ilchester, then right on Beechwood, and right on Bonnie Branch, back to the starting point.  It’s a nice loop that extends my morning ride while keeping me out of school traffic.  The initial goal is to be able to get up Ilchester in the granny without feeling winded.  Then we’ll see where it goes from there.